NHS officials draw up plans to suppress Covid-19 “flare-ups” in North Yorkshire

A motorist being tested for Covid-19.

Health officials are drawing up plans to suppress local outbreaks of coronavirus in North Yorkshire.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, the county council’s director of public health, suggested restrictions could be introduced in areas with “flare-ups” as part of an emergency system being put in place.

He said the measures will be part of the test, track and trace system – and will be revealed in full in the coming weeks.

It could see schools, businesses or workplaces closed in areas that see spikes in infection rates.

The health secretary Matt Hancock has also suggested “local lockdowns” could be introduced.

It comes after the county council was allocated more than £2million of government funding to help local communities reduce the spread of Covid-19 in their area.

The £300million fund has been split between councils across England to build on efforts already made locally in response to the pandemic.

Dr Sargeant said: “Supporting people and businesses across North Yorkshire is at the heart of this planning.

“It is not just about responding to outbreaks but equally about helping businesses, schools, care homes and a wide variety of other settings, reduce the risks in the first place”.

Test and trace was introduced in England on May 28 and is seen as vital to help contain coronavirus outbreaks in communities.

The system asks people who test positive for the virus to provide details of those who they have been in close contact with.

More than 31,000 close contacts of people with coronavirus were identified during the first week of the system being introduced in England.

An app designed to help trace contacts in England has been delayed after trials were carried out on the Isle of Wight.

Dr Sargeant said the county council is now “mapping out in detail” how it will support the system in North Yorkshire as part of an “outbreak management response plan” to be agreed this month.

He added: “We recognise the importance of utilising local level skills and knowledge to aid the national recovery and our plan will detail what strategies, resources and actions are needed to help our county return to normal in a safe way.

“How we will support the Department for Health and Social Care to manage localised outbreaks is rightly part of our response plan and the details of that aspect will be outlined in the coming weeks”.